5 Ways to Kick Those Pandemic Habits:
Tips for Weight Loss, Sleep, Stress, Exercise & More!
For the past year and since the start of the pandemic, many of us have been asked to change the way we live, work and socialize. This has caused us to fall into habits that may be taking more of a toll on us than we realize.
As we leap into spring, let’s take this opportunity to let go of those bad habits and transform them into some good ones. We know that it takes about 1-2 months to develop a habit, so if you can stick with some of the suggestions below throughout the spring, you may find that they will bloom into your new, healthy lifestyle.
We’ve seen quite a few different sleep trends come to light during the pandemic—some are sleeping way more because they are always home, while some sleep way less due to stress and alcohol use. Whatever your reason is, here are some proven tips that I recommend to help lull my patients into truly restorative sleep:
- Use low blue light bulbs — Reduce harmful blue light (from TVs, computers, etc.) a couple hours before bed to encourage healthy melatonin production. Use candlelight or I like these LowBlueLights Bulbs.
- Take sleep support supplements — Melatonin is a great supplement that can help regulate your sleep cycle. We also recommend PS 150*, which contains a nutrient that stops the production of cortisol and allows for more restful sleep to occur.
- Try sleep writing — Keep a journal and pen by your bed. If you find your mind racing and unable to relax when you try to fall asleep, sit up and write down what’s on your mind. Tell yourself that it’ll be right there for you to pick back up in the morning. This gets it out of your head and on your way to sleep.
- Relax with a Spoonk Mat — This is an acupressure mat* that rebalances and relaxes the whole body. My patients report that it makes them turn to jelly. They really love this one!
One thing I notice quite a bit is that people are dehydrated and they don’t even know it! Just because you are drinking lots of water does not mean that your body is actually absorbing it. You NEED water to run all the various systems in the body. Try these helpful tips:
- Try an absorption product — E-lyte* is one of the only products I’ve found that yields fantastic results for my patients. Start with 1/2 capful in every 16oz of liquid and then increase as needed until you notice a difference.
- Add back trace minerals — When we filter our water, we filter out the bad toxins AND the good minerals. A product like Vegan Trace Mineral Drops* adds the good stuff back in. The dose is 6 drops per 16 oz.
- Pay attention to your personal water needs — How much water do you need to drink every day? I say you need a minimum of 32 oz a day, and then add more if you still feel thirsty. We find that people who drink more than 64 oz a day (aside from athletes and extremely active individuals) may not be absorbing properly and require a product like E-Lyte.
3) Mindset & Stress
The past year can be viewed as stress-inducing for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s the pandemic, politics or current events—we’ve all experienced it in one form or another.
At my practice, we have found that there is a very strong connection between the mind and the body. If the mind is in distress, it causes many different reactions in the systems of your body, which manifest as inflammation and pain.
If you can train yourself to reframe how you view your experiences, it can greatly increase your quality of life. Here are a few valuable ways to retrain your brain that have proven to be incredibly successful for my patients:
- Victim vs. Victor
With each situation we experience throughout the day, we make a choice for how to interpret and perceive it. I hear from people, “COVID is causing me so much stress!” or “My family is really stressing me out!” This is thinking like a VICTIM. Take back your power, reframe your thinking and emerge as the VICTOR. Say, “COVID is changing how I do things, but I am going to make the very best of what I can do!” Or “ I am going to create boundaries with toxic family members and focus on positivity.” I think you’ll find that magical things start to happen in your body and with your life!
- Begin and End Your Day… Feeling Great!
Start and end your day by FEELING how you want to feel all day. After you wake up, take 15 minutes for this sensory exercise. Picture your life with NO symptoms. If you struggle with abdominal pain, visualize how it feels when that completely goes away. Vividly imagine your body feels like to be pain free and what you can do now that the pain is gone? Cycle through all five senses to “experience” a truly pain free life. End your day with this exercise as well.
- Detox Your Friends
They say that happiness is the average of your 5 best friends. This means that hanging out with pessimistic and stressed people could be making you grumpy and stressed out too. Hang out with uplifting people, and you’ll start to emulate their mindset. Start with identifying one toxic person and try to set boundaries to limit your exposure to them. Another way to infuse positivity into your life is by seeking out uplifting podcasts or YouTube videos that have a happy message.
4) Nutrition & Weight Loss
A recent study reported that around 61% of adults have reported undesirable weight gain during the pandemic. During the last year, many have fallen into carb-laden comfort eating and chronic snacking. Here are a handful of tips for how to get back on track with your nutrition:
- Eat the rainbow — A variety of colorful vegetables and fruit will provide a full spectrum of nutrients.
- Stick to whole foods — Stick with naturally occurring vegetables, fruit and meats. Not processed!
- Cook at home — You’re more likely to cook healthily if you’re not ordering out.
- Fruit only as dessert — Because of the sugar content, save fruit for occasional desserts.
- Get your leafy greens — You need 4-6 servings of leafy greens each day. If you’re not getting that, add in a greens powder. I like Nutritional Frontiers Pro Lean Greens*.
- Check your fiber intake — Fiber is an instrumental component supporting health growth of bacteria in the gut. If you think you aren’t getting enough, I suggest adding in a gentle and effective product like Regular Girl*.
- Moderation is NOT fine —There are some things that are harmful, even in moderation! (Think smoking). If you have food sensitivities, it can cause inflammation and can wreak havoc in the body for extended periods of time. Many are sensitive to gluten or dairy and don’t even realize. Testing can help uncover the foods you need to avoid.
5) Exercise & Movement
We haven’t had access to our normal gyms and exercise classes, and we’ve also been asked to stay home quite a bit. This has caused a hiccup in our normal exercise routines. See below for tips on how to spring back into action … in the right ways:
- Keep it Personal
You wouldn’t believe how many people I see who are either working out too hard or not hard enough. You should be breaking a nice healthy sweat, but not feeling awful during or after your workout. If you’ve been going hard with exercise, try to pull back on intensity. If you’re more sedentary, consider adding some brisk walking or cardio exercise.
- Mix it Up!
It’s important to be diverse with your types of movement, not only for overall healthy, but to stay active into old age. Make sure you engage in these 4 types of exercise—cardio, weight lifting, balance and flexibility. Mixing up your activities will help to hit all 4: try tennis, yoga, cycling or hiking.
- Take a Stand
I coined a phrase many years ago, “sitting is the new smoking.” Our jobs and lives have landed us in front of screens all day and all night, sedentary and immobile. So, we need to adapt. I highly recommend doing as much standing during the day as you can. Use a standing or adjustable desk, walk around when you’re on the phone or step out for a few walks around the block during the day.
I hope you’ll find these tip helpful. Comment below with the ones you tried and liked. Wishing everyone a happy spring from KanodiaMD!
Article by Dr. Anup Kanodia
*Please email our supplement shop to obtain items with an asterisk. They are part of a curated selection of supplements and products that Dr. Kanodia has carefully chosen for quality and effectiveness.
As always, we’re happy to discuss your health needs. Just contact our office to set up an appointment.